Does New Zealand's response to Covid-19 give us a glimpse of how we might respond to legal euthanasia?
New Zealand voters will decide in September whether terminally ill people will be able to choose to die.
Although we can take some guidance from overseas regimes, it is difficult to know exactly how legal euthanasia could play out in New Zealand.
This country's response to the global pandemic of Covid-19 could offer some clues.
The crisis has placed sharper focus on how we value elderly and vulnerable people and stirred debate over whether we are willing to place some sectors of society at greater risk for the sake of economic gains.
Some of these debates have taken place on the fringes. Entrepreneur and one-time politician Gareth Morgan sparked a backlash online after he suggested on Twitter that New Zealand reopen its economy because the "official value of a life" was only $10,000 while the cost of the Covid-19 lockdown was in the billions.
Other proposals have gained mainstream attention. In particular, a group of academics who called themselves "Plan B" said the lockdown was an overreaction to the risk of Covid-19 and lobbied for it to be lifted earlier.
They did not explicitly call for placing vulnerable people at greater risk, but epidemiologists said their proposals would have done just that, and potentially led to more premature deaths.
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Dr Jess Berenson-Shaw, a public policy analyst, said she was heartened by the fact that the Plan B proposals did not get traction.
"There were narratives about how older people or people who were unwell or had disabilities were people we could consider trading off now for the economy. My general feeling is that it was squashed with quite a sense of anger."
If the pandemic response was a test for how New Zealand would respond to euthanasia, the public seemed to have performed well.
"It showed to me how willing New Zealanders were to think about people who were more vulnerable to an illness than themselves - and were willing to take action," Shaw said. It also gave hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people more visibility.
Shaw noted, however, that though the potentially harmful proposals were dismissed they still would have made vulnerable New Zealanders nervous.
Disability and elderly advocates confirmed this.
"It showed that perhaps some people are more expendable than others," said Robyn Hunt, who co-founded Not Dead Yet Aotearoa, a network of disabled people opposed to euthanasia.
"I think the same economic argument will definitely come up if we have a stressed environment under euthanasia."
Dr Sinead Donnelly, a palliative medicine physician in Wellington, said there had been "depressing" commentary in the United Kingdom about how coronavirus could be "mildly beneficial" because it would only "cull elderly dependants".
"Covid-19 has uncovered the reality of how truly we care about the elderly and the vulnerable," she wrote in a paper published by the Oxford University Press last week.
The debate in New Zealand had not reached such extremes, she told the Herald. But there had been more subtle issues which concerned her.
In her work, she had conversations with people older than 50 who had said that if they caught Covid-19 they would not take up a hospital ventilator which could be used on a younger person.
This brought to mind the "duty to die" argument raised by euthanasia opponents, who say
vulnerable people might choose to die if the option was available because they felt like a burden to their family or society.
Act Party leader David Seymour, who sponsored the End of Life Choice Act, said the response to Covid 19 was a collective one. Euthanasia, on the other hand, was an individual choice.
"There is just no evidence that euthanasia is a choice made for other people," he said.
"Look at who uses it. The data shows us it is people who are more likely to be used to making their own choices - basically wealthy and more educated and with assertive psychological traits.
"The reason for that is because if you look at the bill it is bureaucratic as hell. You have got to be pretty sharp elbow to fight your way through it and get assisted dying."
Disability advocates disagreed.
"That is fallacious argument," said Hunt. "I believe euthanasia is also a collective response. By setting the parameters for euthanasia, it tells us whose lives are valued are whose lives aren't."
Seymour countered that if Covid-19 were an indicator of how New Zealand would respond to euthanasia, then his opponents had nothing to fear.
"If you look at the position New Zealand's taken, we have gone to the extreme of reducing public health risk.
"If that tells you about the New Zealand psyche, then the fearmongering by opponents of my legislation is unfounded."